Microsoft Commercials

Microsoft just recently released the 3rd commercial in their new advertising campaign. This commercial moves away form the Gates/Seinfield style into a more open based approach. One of the things that bothered me about the “I am a Mac” advertisements were that they played on ones self esteem. Being a developer really there is already enough post 70’s stereotypes of what a typical PC user was. As a PC your were not cool, you would break down, you would have instabilities. The stereotype was to define what a PC was dull/boring/and utilitarian. As both a PC and a MAC (I own both) have found both platforms equally successful and also equally problematic at times. Having a Mac does not make you smarter, more creative or any better then the person beside you that has a PC. At times it may even be challenged that the PC offers a better value and a lower TCO. In the 3rd commercial MS tackles the misperception that a PC can be boxed into a single stereotype, and in my opinion does well to flatten the playing field by showing diverse peoples in different industries all claiming to be a PC. The culture of Mac and Linux needs to be in my opinion more inclusive then they are today.

I have written it before and I will say it again, Apple seems to hold too much control of the products, software and worst of all market place if it does become a monopoly based on its current strategies it could be far worse then either IBM or Microsoft was in the past. Sometimes its hard to see the forest through the trees when one is blinded by the sparkle of a shiny apple.

I said I was a PC and a Mac, but thinking of it really I am an opportunist, and will do the right thing for my customers.

Silverlight works in Google Chrome

It seems to me that Silverlight is now accessible in most of the major browsers and is becoming a viable choice for the .net developer looking into getting into RIA development. I had touched on in a couple of months back and liked what I initially saw. I suspect that in the near future I will be back into it especially looking into ways of embedding Silverlight into the new SalesLogix web client to enhance the customer experience.

You can find more details of Silverlight on Chrome at John Galloway’s blog.

SalesLogix V7.5 has been released

Late last night version 7.5 of SalesLogix CRM went RTM. For me the represents a significant step in the products evolution and I am already receiving conversion work on LAN to Web Client conversion customizations. The web client looks great and later on today we will be putting it into production here at BITtelligent. For the web client there are too many features added for all of them to be mentioned but some are;

  • Process workflow
  • Enhanced UI
  • Way better group support including RMB item selection to group support
  • New web based Intellisync based client
  • Web based remote office, Web based remote client
  • Activity attachment enhancements
  • Spark lines
  • Timeline view
  • Enhanced developer experience in deployment, Form interfaces and other underlying fixes

 

And so much more. Congratulations to the Development team and Sage for getting this product to market. I look forward to supporting our customer base on 7.5.

Mile Stones and Business Growth

As of Monday BITtelligent software has hit its 5 month anniversary, Its been around much longer but only really active in the public for the last 5 months. For me certain milestones exist to benchmark how a company is headed. Opening the office, the first customer, the first paid invoice :), the second customer, and hiring your first employee are some of the exciting milestones that have happened very quickly. As of Monday, we will have a new developer working for BITtelligent helping with the ongoing workload. For me this is a very exciting time and represents a shift in the capabilities we will be able to provide and the level of commitments that we can well, …. commit to.

Joel will initially be focused in getting up to speed on the SalesLogix LAN/Web Client allowing for our company to take on more LAN to web conversion if they come up. We will also be looking at building out some Web Client vertical solutions more so around day to day services and needs that we have here but to a point that they will be engineered and available to the outside community as a whole.

We are also going to start to engage the community more around the Sage Mobile Platform, from a support and development side of things, and introduce over time advanced developer training specific on getting the most out of the platform and identifying the tool sets and processes required to implement customer solutions faster with less risk. Some of the things you might see are some new functionality plugged into Mobile App Architect to provided ‘extra’ support in getting your customizations completed.

SalesLogix .Net Extension Grief

Today I have been busy away working on some .net extension code. The integration code is fairly simple and does not lead to any kind of complexity that would have manifested in any issues. The code had been working during compiles and applies into my SalesLogix instance. Then all of a sudden it just stopped working. It seemed very odd to me that it would have stopped in such a way and without any kind of indication such as an exception in the .net code itself. Being that this was an isolated environment that I am using for development I tried several different things such as re-registering the removing and re-adding the custom extensions, re-registering the .net extension core assemblies, uninstalling the client and re-installing and the same with the server components. I also tried the code on several different instances of SalesLogix to see if it was isolated to this VM image or it was a different issue. I finally tried to create a simple .net extension stub, install in into my SalesLogix instance and lo and behold it worked. Given this information I went down the path to see what could have gone wrong with the custom extensions that were now working. I noticed that the assembly version for one of the assemblies was 0.0.0.0, which seemed strange to me considering there was an automated build task to handle upping the assembly version. Looking at the assembyinfo.cs file gave me the final pwop moment that I needed. It seems that somehow the assemblyinfo.cs file was empty and that the needed metadata that the .net extension code needed was not compiled in the assembly. I located the previous version of the file in history and after compiling and re-adding into the SalesLogix instance all was well again.

 

So lesson learned, make sure you have valid assembly info providing the much required metadata.

 

Mark

Apple Determines the Market

I was reading this morning on how Apple decided to to allow an iPhone application to be released on their App Store site because of their internal perception of market demand. Specifically citing ‘little utility ‘ in the response letter to the developer. I can understand if Apple set standard/Policies of the types of application that can be created but to determine that the application will not have a broad appeal seems so quite draconian to me. Given that Apple completely controls the distribution channel for the device I believe they are held to a higher level of openness and to consider the fact that the market will determine the kinds of applications it wants and are willing to pay for. It is completely fair for Apple to have some kind of metric that determines when an application is removed based on inactivity however to not allow an application completely again is in my opinion is wrong. I can also assume the determination if an application has broad appeal lies on a select few internal resources and this selection process I am going to believe is based on those individuals ‘gut’ feelings.

In this age where we as a developer community are crying out for more openness, and opportunity is Apple going backwards? They control hardware, software, and now the market place, they are trying to control the levels of communication and interaction that the developer community has.

I guess the question I want to ask is can Apple still do no wrong? What is the market share Apple has to have before we start to ask for more as a developer community supporting their platform. I may be off track here but the one thing I can always attribute to Microsoft over other vendors is the support they give to there development community, and the level of openness has only gotten better.

Stung by ASP.Net 3.51 Bug

I love Visual Studio 2008. I even refer it to clients when setting up the SalesLogix Web Client to have available in case there is any debugging that needs to be done.

One of my customers on my recommendation installed vs2008 web dev express which now also will install SP1 of the .net framework. Luckily his site was in test as we found that users were unable to log in. After much head banging we discovered that the action tag on the form in the web page was not being rewritten correctly since it already had a value in it (javascript:void(0)) and therefore not causing a page post back.

 

More information can be located from here

 

The fix is to locate the action attribute in the Login.master page on the form tag and remove the action attribute from the tag completely.

Note that this is a SLX Web Client 7.2.2 and below issue and has been addressed for the 7.5 release

 

Mark

Note :

Further testing reveled that base.master, default.master, login.master, and dialog.master all had the action attribute set. To fully fix this issue the attribute needs to be removed from all of these pages. For example if you do not remove the attribute from base.master navigation will be broken on the detail pages such as account.ascx

 

Cheers, and have a good night

First Run at Chrome

Since I do a considerable amount of development in web applications and more specifically with SalesLogix web client I decided I should at least try to run the client in Chrome. I stayed outside of using the extended features to get a feeling of how things would work with the basic application (rendering, Java Script and the like) and wow … I can honestly say that the browser can perform. Everything seems to be extremely snappy. I am now thinking that this may be the kick in the Pants that MS needs to focus on performance in IE. I also love the capability of extracting tabs from the main browser window and spawning new windows. Pretty cool. From an UI stand point I do not see it as that much different from IE except for moving the URL edit box/tool bars into the tabs instead of the main window. First impressions very positive.

Mark

I’ve gone Bold

As the business grows I am starting to audit the things that I do and pay for in my personal life and determine if they are actually business related. One thing that I have been paying for was my mobile phone. I have had the same BlackBerry 8800 for 3 years now, which I have used in Corum, Sage and now in BITtelligent. Since we have been getting busy here I felt it was time to move the phone over to a Company account. I also needed to upgrade my office managers phone to a BlackBerry as well so it was a great time to trade in my old device for a new BlackBerry Bold. It should have been easier.

I called Rogers and explained what I wanted to do, Move the 2 existing phones over into a business accounts. After moving between service agents for a better part of an hour on the phone the job was done. The agent told me to go into the local Rogers outlet and pick up the new devices (Bold, Curve). When I arrived the store’s terminals were not working optimally so the rep needed to call in the order where he was told that we had gone back to tier 1 pricing (tier 5 good – tier 1 bad). At Tier 1 I would have to pay almost $800 for the Bold. I had to call there ‘Retention Agent’ to discus the issue. The instore agent, and the rep on the phone with the in-store Agent could do nothing. After some heated discussion (mostly on my part) and 40 minutes of time with a ‘Retention agent’ the Phone were appropriately priced. Rogers also provided some perks for the discomfort caused in the process.

Once I finally got the device in hand there were 2 things that I noticed. The weight and profile of the device – lighter and thinner, and the screen was so much more vibrant. Now my initial data plan was $60 for 25MB, the rep on the phone provided a plan that was $30 for 300MB, when I finally walked out of the store the final plan include 6GB for $30 so switching at this time was definitely a plus. The only thing on the device that seems strange to me is the ‘ball’ instead of the scroll wheel. But so far I am impressed with the device overall.

Google Chrome

We have IE, Firefox, Opera web browsers already. Looks like Google is now poised to enter the Browser market with their Chrome browser. I just noticed this so I do not have a lot of details, but from the screen shots it really looks like a less then stellar release. Do we really need another browser to have to test for?